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Legal Direction: Protecting and Supporting Today’s Small Business.

In September, I will have been a licensed attorney for 20 years. It is hard to believe. But round numbers seem to be a time for reflection on where you’ve been and where you want to go.

A while back, I saw Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, “Start with Why.”

For the first time, I paused to examine my legal career. I work with businesses to identify risks and come up with strategies to protect the business assets and the owner’s personal liability.

I discovered I don’t want to work with “businesses”. My why is helping people who own small and micro businesses. Regular people like your plumber, hair stylist, local pub owner, home stager, shop owner, IP consultant, accountant or contractor.

It gives me great personal satisfaction to make sure the people who own businesses in our community have access to a trusted legal advisor.

Over the years, I’ve learned that many business owners are scared of lawyers. They don’t want to look stupid because they didn’t successfully form their corporation. They wrote their own contract, and couldn’t do anything when the other side abruptly cancelled the contract for no reason. They signed an unfavorable 7-year lease without having an attorney review it because they didn’t realize it was negotiable.

And above all, they are afraid of the cost. The billable hour drives a wedge in the attorney-client relationship. The billable hour encourages the attorney to spend as much time as possible on a matter to maximize profits. The billable hour encourages clients not to call, because they don’t want a $150 bill in a few weeks for that “quick question.” In addition, many attorneys don’t accurately forecast the fees (or give any sense of the cost), don’t work within the forecast and don’t communicate when they hit a snag that causes the price to skyrocket. As a result, there is often significant anxiety when the monthly statement comes.

It is equally frustrating to me when potential clients wait too long to call me. What could have been a simple fix six months ago is now very difficult and costly to unwind. It is true, an ounce of legal prevention is worth a pound of cure. And to be perfectly honest, I hate measuring my day in six minute increments. I prefer to be able to talk to my clients for as long as it takes for us to explore an issue and analyze different solutions.

There has to be a better way for the heart of our local economy to engage legal counsel and for the attorney to provide meaningful, timely and cost-effective legal services to this market segment.

That is why I created Legal Direction. We focus on providing meaningful and cost-effective legal guidance to the business owners in our North Carolina community. The business climate has never been more complex. Small businesses and micro businesses need sound legal support, direction and protection just as much as the big boys. At Legal Direction, we work collaboratively with clients to anticipate their needs and chart a course of action that supports and protects their future.

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